On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) filed a lawsuit against the administration of Joe Biden over the federal vaccine requirement for members of the National Guard.
As reported by CNN, Abbott’s lawsuit declares that the vaccine mandate for the Texas National Guard infringes on “Governor Abbott’s authority as Commander in Chief and on Texas’s sovereignty,” and that “it is unlawful for Defendants to attempt to override the Governor’s authority to govern his troops, and then leave him to deal with the harms that they leave in their wake.”
The lawsuit is in response to a policy implemented by an August memorandum from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, declaring that all members of the American military must be vaccinated or else face discharge. Austin declared that the mandate would include non-federalized National Guard members, such as state National Guards, and that any states that defied the mandate would face a funding freeze or see members be prohibited from engaging in military duties.
On Tuesday, a district court judge ruled against the state of Oklahoma in its effort to block the coronavirus vaccine mandate for members of the state’s National Guard, The Hill reports.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot explained his reasoning in a 29-page ruling, in which he rejected a motion filed by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.) to indefinitely block the mandate; Judge Friot claimed that the plaintiffs’ claim was “without merit.”
“The court is required to decide this case on the basis of federal law, not common sense,” said Friot in his ruling. “But, either way, the result would be the same. The claims asserted by the Governor and his co-plaintiffs are without merit.”
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is joining four other state governors in requesting the Department of Defense withdraw vaccine mandate directives to National Guard members in Title 32 duty status.
U.S. National Guard members’ deadline to be vaccinated was Dec. 2. Nearly 50,000 military members across all branches have declined to get vaccinated, Reynolds’ office’s news release said.
On Thursday, the state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit to exempt members of the state’s National Guard from the nationwide coronavirus vaccine mandate, The Hill reports.
The suit, filed in federal court by Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.) and Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Okla.), names Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as defendants. The suit requests that the courts declare the national vaccine mandate for all members of the armed services to be unconstitutional, and thus enjoin the federal government from enforcing it on the Oklahoma National Guard; the suit also seeks to prevent the federal government from imposing its penalty for refusal to comply, which would include withholding federal funds from the state’s National Guard.
“This mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting a vaccine,” the suit reads in part, “a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security.”
The Pentagon responded appropriately and in a timely fashion to urgent requests for National Guard assistance on the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Wednesday.
“We also determined that DoD officials did not delay or obstruct the DoD’s response,” reads the report.
Texas Republicans described President Joe Biden’s immigration policies as reckless and criticized him for claiming that he has been too busy to visit the southern border since taking office in January.
Biden said Thursday night that he “should go down [to visit the border] but the whole point of it is I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of time to,” during a CNN town hall. The last time Biden was near the border was when he flew into an airport in El Paso, Texas, where his motorcade took him to New Mexico for a campaign event in 2008, according to The Washington Post.
Tens of thousands of migrants from other countries are making their way north to the southern border, an open border activist and government officials warn.
Irineo Mujica, Director of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an NGO that provides “shelter and safety to migrants and refugees in transit” and accompanies them “in their journey,” says a new Haitian caravan is making its way to the U.S. border from Tapachula, Mexico.
He also says 800 Haitians and Central Americans are crossing the Guatemalan border every day making their way north.
A $2.1 billion bill to fund the Capitol Police, National Guard and resettlement of Afghans who helped U.S. troops sailed through the Senate Thursday afternoon on a 98-0 vote.
The bill was brokered by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the two top lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee. The deal, which also provides funding for COVID-19-related measures around the Capitol complex, was reached amid reports that the Capitol Police was set to run out of money in the coming weeks.
National Guard troops are slated to decamp from Capitol Hill this week, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress amid fears of further unrest after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection.
Personnel will fully depart the U.S. Capitol grounds this week, military officials and congressional aides said Monday, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress allegedly over fears of unrest after the Jan. 6 reported “attempted insurrection” by former President Trump supporters, Politico reported.
The Brooklyn Center police officer responsible for shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright was identified Monday evening as agitators surrounded the local police station for a second straight night.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, fired the fatal shot in Sunday’s incident. She is currently on administrative leave and a decision regarding her future with the Brooklyn Center Police Department is expected Tuesday.
Potter mistakenly drew her handgun instead of her Taser when Wright resisted arrest, according to partial body camera video released Monday.
The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee called the current National Guard deployment on Capitol Hill unwarranted.
Democratic Rep. Adam Smith and Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the committee’s respective chairman and ranking member, asked the Department of Defense to implement a “measured drawdown” of the guardsmen stationed at the Capitol in a joint statement Thursday.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly overruled a memo from the commanding general of the National Guard who objected to keeping troops in D.C., according to Fox News.
The memo, written by Gen. Daniel Hokanson, was disseminated among the White House National Security Council last week and cited concerns over the National Guard already being overburdened with coronavirus issues, civil disturbances and wildfires, according to a report from Fox News.
The Pentagon is reviewing a Capitol Police request for the National Guard to remain stationed at the US Capitol for an additional two months, citing concerns about security and potential violence, defense officials told the Associated Press.
The National Guard was stationed at the Capitol following the violent breach Jan. 6 where five people died, the AP reported. Law enforcement has remained on high alert at the Capitol since Thursday after intelligence operatives uncovered a “potential plot” by far-right militia groups to storm the building.
The Defense Department estimates the National Guard deployment at the Capitol through March 15 will cost nearly $483 million, in addition to $500 million it has already spent, Fox News reported Monday.
Approximately 26,000 National Guard troops from across the country were sent to Washington D.C. after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The number has gradually reduced, however there are still more than 7,000 troops guarding the Capitol building with plans to gradually decrease its presence through the end of March, to fewer than 3,000 troops, according to Fox News.
Thousands of National Guard troops protecting the Capitol Hill complex during inauguration week were temporarily forced Thursday night to leave the buildings, sparking outrage among the troops and Congress.
“Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – why are American troops who are tasked with keeping security at the Capitol being forced to sleep in a parking lot? They deserve to be treated with respect, and we deserve answers,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a tweet, asked the two leaders of the Democrat-controlled Congress.
Several agencies are participating in the U.S. Secret Service’s security protections around the inauguration in Washington, D.C., including the FBI and Customs and Border Protection.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the National Guard will join the FBI and Customs and Border Protection to participate in security efforts surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. FBI officials are investigating a substantial number of “concerning” comments online about potential events on and leading up to inauguration day, FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a briefing on Thursday.